The Kitsap Sun (subscription required) reported on the removal of a partial fish-blocking culvert on Chico Creek, under Kittyhawk Drive. Under the direction of the Suquamish Tribe, the 50-year old culvert is being removed, fully allowing the mouth of the estuary to return to a more natural state.
Removing the Kittyhawk culvert is an important step in restoring the estuary, according to Small and Tom Ostrom, of the Suquamish Tribe, who helped pull together more than $2 million for the project. Replacing the freeway bridge, they said, will lead to an even greater improvement in salmon habitat, supporting increased populations of chum, coho and steelhead.
Work on the Kittyhawk project began earlier this summer with construction of a new driveway punched in from Chico Way. The driveway has a gravel surface, but it will be paved later this year. The driveway provides a new access for residents who previously crossed Chico Creek to get home.
Along with the culvert removal, the project will remove 400 feet of Kittyhawk Drive, built on a raised roadbed. An estimated 10,000 cubic yards of soil will be pulled out of the estuary where it was placed to build the road. That’s more than 1,000 average dump truck loads.
Before the end of September, Chico Creek should be able to flow smoothly out of the freeway culvert and down a gradual slope into Chico Bay, according to John Gaffney, water resources engineer for Anchor QEA. Log structures will be buried downstream of the remaining culvert to ensure that the stream does erode vertically, but Gaffney does not expect that to happen.